Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday declared a state of emergency in the country, the state-run PTV reported.
He also issued a provisional constitutional order, the PTV report said.
The Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Governments, Federal, provincial cabinets, Senate, National and Provincial Assemblies will continue to exist under the provisional constitutional order, according to local media reports.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was removed and was verbally told that his services were not required any more. An 8-member panel of the Supreme Court set aside the proclamation of emergency announced by the army chief. The troops entered the building of the Supreme Court and paramilitary rangers were also deployed in Islamabad.
The transmission of private TV channels' signals has been stopped across the country and an emergent cabinet meeting is expected to be held Saturday night, according to local media reports.
The security across the country was put on high alert on Saturday.
President Musharraf will address the nation over state-run television and radio later Saturday night, PTV reported.
Under the constitution of Pakistan, the President may issue a Proclamation of Emergency if he is satisfied that grave emergency exists in which the security of Pakistan is threatened by war or external aggression, or by internal disturbance beyond the power of a provincial government to control.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Tariq Azeem on Saturday said that martial law was an unconstitutional step while declaring an emergency was the constitutional right of the government under Article 232 of the constitution. He said the situation in Swat, Rawalpindi and Sargodha stimulated the government to fulfill its responsibility to maintain law and order at every cost.
Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto will not return to Pakistan from Dubai after Musharraf declared the state of emergency, a spokesman of Pakistan People's Party was quoted by local media as saying on Saturday.